- Man cannot understand why God just doesn’t destroy all the wicked people and leave the good people.
- Man cannot understand how that turning from righteousness, even for a second, warrants permanent destruction in the sight of God, when the wicked are given a (many) chance(s) to repent.
Briefly, we can answer the two contentions with other Scripture:
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. (Matthew 19:16-17)
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:9-19)
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11:32)
Hmm . . . So you think the LORD God should destroy all the wicked out of hand instead of granting then space to repent and believe?
If so, say “Goodbye” to the race of man. Tomorrow will not exist for us. All are equally guilty before God, all are wicked in the sight of God, all deserve destruction. Remember, there is:
none good but one, that is, God:
none that doeth good, no, not one
Here then is also the righteousness of the LORD God:
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
For this reason:
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Romans 5:18)
So much for Limited atonement . . .1
But I digress.
In returning to look at righteousness and what it is, we should particularly note verses 29-30 of Ezekiel, Chapter 18, and add to that verses 17-20 of Ezekiel, Chapter 33:2
Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:29-30)
Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways. (Ezekiel 33:17-20)
In both the above passages, there is the use of the phrases “my ways equal” and “your ways unequal” contrasted, and then the LORD God stating “turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity . . .” It is this tying of “iniquity,” and “my ways equal” and “your ways unequal” together that are the center of understanding righteousness. To strengthen this, when the LORD proceeds further and states “When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity,” He is clearly setting righteousness in direct opposition to iniquity, and saying that “iniquity” is being “not equal” in one’s doings. Therefore sin, which is a result of iniquity, is the result of being unequal in one’s way of being. This is to say that if the very way we think is unequal, that when we do not treat everything equally, we are in sin, and are not righteous. This is confirmed in the New Testament in James, Chapter 2:
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (James 2:8-9)
Beyond this, it is inherent in being equal or righteous, that one must, to be equal, see everything that exists, physical and spiritual as it is, not as one thinks or wants it to be. To clarify, one must be able to see infinitely, knowing that all things that can be seen, are seen and perceived accurately, or as they are.
To simplify somewhat, it is like examining a plain white sheet of paper, letter size. For us, we specify that it is 8.5 x 11.0 inches, and is .012 inch thick, an weighs “X” amount. However, all that is described by us is approximate, and not actual. In fact, we cannot actually know exactly how wide, long and thick the sheet of paper is. Nor can we know exactly how much it weighs.
Because we do not have instruments that can measure the absolute size and weight of the sheet of paper. We are strictly limited by our capabilities and will never know exactly the physical aspects of the sheet of paper, we can only approximate. This makes us inherently unrighteous when we attempt to describe a single sheet of letter size printer or copier paper.
When we look at righteousness from this perspective it demonstrates to us just how incapable we are of being righteous. Moreover, it illustrates our inability to truly understand the extent of the LORD God’s righteousness, which is intrinsic to His being. Perhaps then, a description of the LORD God’s righteousness can be understood by the following illustration:
It is as if there existed an infinitely large mathematical equation that extended in every dimension, both physical and spiritual, with an equal sign right in the midst. In all that would be done in this infinite, multi-dimensional equation, it is never not an equation. Meaning it is never, not even for the slightest of an instant, unequal as it is worked. Moreover, in every thought and action that occurs in this equation and the outworking or ramifications thereof, everything balances perfectly and remains equal at all times, from infinity to infinity in every and all possible dimensions.
Now then, if we begin to grasp that concept, we begin to understand how that in all that is done, the LORD God is ever and always righteous in all that He does, from infinity to infinity, and just how incapable we are of being righteous outside of the salvation that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, all that is to bring us to the point of understanding that the LORD God’s righteousness is not something that even relates to being “happy” or “unhappy” and such concepts are not even open for discussion in the context of who the LORD God IS. Rather, the pleasure of the LORD is found in His righteousness, even as His will is found within His righteousness. We also find, if we study, that the love of God is found within the confines of His righteousness, as I Corinthians tells us:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
“Charity” as given here, is the Love of God that is spoken of in Romans 5:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:3-4)
Which love is intrinsic to His being, one with, and in perfect concert to righteousness. Hence, when we see such statements as:
“If God were unhappy, if he were in some way deficient, then he might indeed be constrained from outside in some way to do what he does not want to do in order to make up his deficiency and finally to be happy.”
I have to wonder what kind of mind would even consider such questions. After all, as a child of God through the shed blood of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I cannot even conceive that another child of God could even think of such a statement to make in answer to any question concerning the LORD God. Knowing all that has been presented, how can there be any issue of “happy” or “unhappy” with the LORD? The LORD God is not driven by such transient things, but is driven by His inherent righteousness, holiness, love, mercy and judgement. As the LORD God reminds us all:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
But aren’t we told?
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16)
Perhaps the problem is that someone is not thinking like the LORD . . .